Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Dreaming for Spring

Personally I can't wait for Spring. I'm already tired of these cold snaps and freezing temps. I feel horrible for our friends up north. It's strange to see the White House surrounded by huge piles of snow. I heard that this is one of the largest snow storms ever recorded for that region. I do hope that everyone is staying warm and safe up there.

It's a whopping 45 degrees in Houston, Texas today. I've been dreaming of those lovely mid to high 70's temp Spring afternoons. Those are my favorite days. Filled with crystal blue skies, chirping birds, butterflies, and all the beautiful flowers coming into full bloom. Yes, I'm fantasizing of a Spring afternoon today.

I've decided to turn off the tele (except the news) and spend my evenings reading books these past couple of days. I came across a fabulous book called, Southern Gardens. It has so much information on gardening. Last year I dabbled with my first flower garden. I must say, I'm totally 100% addicted. This year I'm planning on stepping out a bit of my comfort zone by planting Camellias, pink Roses, and Gardenias. Oh the Camellias will look so lovely in my crystal vase. I enjoy clipping my own flowers during the Spring/Summer months. My grandmother was quite the Gardner. How I wish she was still with us today. I'm sure she and I would spend hours discussing gardening tips. Life is funny that way....once you get to an age to truly appreciate your grandparents it seems they are gone. My grandmother had one of the most beautiful gardens I've ever laid my eyes on. Hopefully I will inherit that gene and keep the tradition alive with my own.

One of the many tips my grandmother shared with me before her passing is that there is a special technique in clipping flowers. Not everyone knows this and often will just break and tear the stem. This would make any gardener shudder at the very thought.

Here's my grandmother's advice:

1.) Harvest flowers early in the morning. Flowers cut in the heat of the day will be droopy and floppy from the mid afternoon sun.

2.) Immediately after cutting the stem (with clippers), immerse the stems in a bucket. Be sure to always fill the bucket with room-temperature water. She used a small plastic bucket to carry around the garden with her.

3.) Once inside, fill the kitchen sink with water and recut the stems underwater.

4.) Remove the leaves and other foliage that will be submerged under the waterline. This will help to avoid rot and fungus.

5.) Try to avoid putting flowers in the refrigerator because it will dry them out. Obviously florist shops can't avoid putting arrangements in the cool temps for shipping purposes.

6.) Fill your vase with room-temperature water and add an aspirin or a bit of lemon-lime juice.

7.) Be sure to always change the water daily. It keeps it from forming bacteria causing rotting.

Camellia - These beauties are often found in the Southeast region. They mostly prefer part-shade. They grow very well in containers/pots. Camellia's should be moist not soggy when watering. When digging a hole make sure it's at least 1 1/2 depth of the root ball. This will keep it from suffocating and not getting the oxygen it needs to grow. Pack with loose mulch, such as bark, after filling in hole with amended soil. Mulch keeps from weeds growing, keeps roots cool, and moist in the summer and warm in the winter.

Pink Roses- When you plant roses you want to place them in a liquid fertilizer from the beginning of the growing season. Be sure to water the Roses diligently because they require a lot of water during the first stage. As the roses begin to bud place mulch around the bushes. Roses need less weeding and watering and have fewer diseases if you lay down 1 to 2 inches of organic mulch.

Gardenia- Gardenia's needs lightly shaded area. Make sure that your Gardenia plant is planted in a moist soil. Work in a lot of peat moss into the soil. Be sure to keep the soil moist every day for good growth. As roots begin to show you can back off watering every 2 to 3 days. Gardenia's are heavy feeders so be sure to give it a good healthy dose of fertilizer every 6 to 8 weeks.


Jill said...

Oh Gigi, I need your help. I think I've mentioned this before. I have no clue what to do with flowers or plants.

Your Grandmother gave you some great tips. I didn't know about the about the lemon-lime juice in flowers. Great tip!

Phyllis AROUND THE HOUSE said...

Thanks for the great tips from your grandmother, the flowers are so beautiful, I am ready for spring too...Phyllis

Beth Dunn said...

Can't wait for spring! It cannot get here faster. xoxo


Lexilooo said...

Oh I love gardenias, they are so beautiful! I have a tiny plant that I bought at Mount Vernon last spring (they have a big garden sale every year!), but it hasn't grown too much. It's still alive though, so I guess that is good, right? :)